While in space, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques is using his vantage point from aboard the International Space Station to explore Earth. Saint-Jacques is observing our planet to better understand its geological, environmental and ecological systems and planetary scientists and astronomers from Western are supporting his mission in full force.
During a space-to-Earth connection today, Saint-Jacques launched Exploring Earth, a web-based initiative that uses photos he is taking in orbit to explain the amazing science of how Earth works. Georeferenced on an interactive world map, the photos showcase geological and man-made features and are accompanied by detailed and accessible science information and also highlight the important contribution of satellites in monitoring the planet.
The supporting materials for the interstellar initiative were compiled by experts from Western’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX), as well the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Social Science, and the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
Racel Sopoco, Parshati Patel and Gordon Osinski from CPSX were key players in generating content for Exploring Earth while James Voogt from the Department of Geography and Zoe Lindo from the Department of Biology also contributed blog posts. Beth Hundey from the Centre for Teaching and Learning, as well as 12 Western graduate students and post-doctoral scholars, also participated.
Osinski, who serves as CPSX director, represented Western in Ottawa at the Canada Science and Technology Museum today for the launch event with CSA astronaut Jenni Sidey-Gibbons and Roberta Bondar, MSc’71, Canada’s first woman astronaut.